Arrow ‘Streets of Fire’: Not Done Fighting Review
***** Read at Your Own Risk Spoilers ! *****
Arrow delivers yet another awesome penultimate episode, setting up a grim future for Starling and the biggest stage for the ultimate showdown between Oliver and Slade. I don’t think I’ve been this on-my-seat as I was with this episode, which put me on an emotional roller-coaster for it’s entire length.
I just want to point out this is a delayed review of Streets of Fire – I had a massive headache when I watched the episode and was unable to write this right away. But it’s here now. So let’s get this moving, because there’s a lot to review.
I can’t stop praising David Nykl for giving us such a great character in Anatoli. It’s so great to see his character continue to be in week after week. Hopefully Season 3 provides us with more moments between Oliver and Anatoli – we’ve only just started to see their friendship forming, and there’s still so much more to come.
But onto the actual episode… We learn very quickly Slade’s taken Sara, and Oliver wants to go to the Amazo and save her. So what do he and Anatoli do? Steer their sub to 10 meters away and Oliver swims the rest (although, to be honest, he didn’t seem all that wet so maybe he had their lifeboat…). The final scene between Oliver and Anatoli for the episode, which is just as Oliver leaves for the Amazo, was one of the best non-fight scene of the episode. It also highlights the friendship between the men that we know carries through to the present day (as shown in Keep Your Enemies Closer). One of my favourite lines from Anatoli is “I’d do anything for you.” It was also hinted he’s the one who teaches Oliver how to speak Russian when Oliver mispronounced the Russian farewell and Anatoli said “I will also teach you how to speak Russian.” Okay, in hindsight, that wasn’t a hint – it was a definite yes he will… Seriously, though. Make Anatoli a regular already!
Oliver breaks Sara out of her cell, but wants to go get the Mirakuru cure from Ivo’s room because at this point Oliver’s still hoping he can save Slade (as apposed to the present, where he seems to have given that up). He wants Sara to go back to the sub, but she refuses to go without him – proving once again that the Lance sisters love to do the opposite of what they’re told. Slade’s one step ahead of them though, taking the cure out of Ivo’s safe. He then waits for them to get to the room, and gloats. It’s more dramatic than I just made it sound.
Despite the fact that Laurel featured in quite a number of promotional stills with Oliver, her on-screen time with him lasted only the first five or so minutes. Firstly, there should be a rule about her touching Oliver’s bow. Mitts off, girlie. Secondly, who the FRICK wears a bright red jacket when the city’s being attacked? Do you want to be a target, Laurel? I roll my eyes at you.
My favourite Lance continues to be Papa Lance, aka Detective Quentin Lance who officially became a Detective again in Streets of Fire so… YAY! When we see him first off this week, he’s still in the fight against one of Deathstroke’s men that started at the end of City of Blood. Seeing how easily his fellow officers are failing to stop the man, Quentin grabs a bunch of grenades from the storage room (which, can I just point out, happens to be in what seemed like the bullpen – seems like the least secure place to store weapons to me… but then again I could be wrong with where in the Police Station we were for this scene). Anyway, he uses them to bring the guy down – I’d say kill but… it’s hard to tell if anyone injected with the Mirakuru is actually dead.
Quentin convinces Lt Pike to turn to The Arrow for help stopping Deathstroke’s army. And who could possibly not like when Pike calls him ‘the vigilante’ Quentin’s quick to correct him. Papa Lance making a stand. Woo! Quentin also convinces Pike to put him in charge of coordinating things, and that’s when Pike reinstates Quentin as Detective.
The Lance sisters spend most of the episode bonding, but at this point in the season I care very little for either (which is especially sad in regards to Sara, who I really liked until sometime around episodes 14 or 15). Meanwhile, Quentin calls The Arrow to fill him in as he’s heading off to find his two daughters. When he finally catches up to them, Laurel is outside a burning building – while Sara (dressed, as she is almost all episode, as the Black Canary) is inside saving a little girl. Quentin nearly runs inside but is stopped by Laurel, in what was a slight echo of their final scene in last season’s finale, Sacrifice, when the CNRI building collapsed while Tommy was still inside (obviously the roles are reversed this time). Sara saves the girl and leaves before the mother can thank her.
Blood, Slade and Isabel vs. Team Arrow
So there was plenty of Original Recipe Team Arrow in this episode. I like to call them Original Recipe Team Arrow, because they are. It all started with Oliver, Diggle and Felicity. I love seeing it being just the three of them again. It’s also good when you have three core people on Team Slade (not including the army). Although after this week, Team Slade’s down one…
Laurel’s boss, who I keep forgetting her name, is killed when some of Deathstroke’s army kills all of Blood’s mayoral staff – the gross level coming in the form of one of the army guys snapping her neck in front of us viewers and Blood. Meanwhile, Isabel is kicking Diggle’s butt and demanding he tell her where Felicity is so she can kill her (the reasoning behind that isn’t known). Felicity arrives in spectacular style – she drives straight into Isabel, which I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to cheer at that.
The courier from STAR Labs is trapped in his car on a bridge and so Team Arrow race to get to him before Deathstroke’s Army does. Except while they’re en-route, a few of the army men cause Diggle to crash their van (the crash is really great to watch, even when you’re screaming because our heroes are inside). Felicity’s knocked unconscious, Diggle and Oliver rush to get out through the windscreen which Diggle kicks out before Deathstroke’s men reach the van. Oliver shoots one of his explosive arrows through the van onto the back door just as the men are opening it and the arrow blows up in their faces. Nice. Oliver then, despite being pretty knocked up (still suffering a limp from his injured knee caused by Roy in Seeing Red, which is happened less than 24 hours ago in their world), takes Felicity from Diggle and walks off with her in his arms.
The team gets to the bridge and Felicity talks to the courier. He thinks they’ve found him, but it turns out to be Deathstroke’s men. Oliver and Diggle run to get to him in time, but he dies before they can get to him – and the cure’s been taken.
Blood complains to Slade about his staff and the fact he’s destroying the city, but Slade dismisses it. I knew from the second Slade smiled at Blood that he had something planned for Blood, one that, as it turns out, played out before the episode was over. Unhappy with Slade, Blood steals the Mirakuru cure and calls the Arrow in order to give it back to them. Oliver and Diggle go see him in one of the best scenes all episode. In fact, it’s clear this sets up so much for the finale. Oliver states Slade’s warning when he killed Moira (“one more must die”) and Blood simply says, “the one you lost most”. At the time it went to air, a lot of the fans suspected Felicity (it’s been coming since Slade was introduced in the present day, really) – but we now know, thanks to the Unthinkable promo photos, that Slade does kidnap Felicity. Unfortunately he also has Laurel (or she’s being held by one of his soldiers…) and I’m hoping we don’t get another ‘you must chose one’ situation, because that’s run its course already.
Oh, and Roy? The last we see of him is Oliver injecting him with the Mirakuru cure. I want to point out my dislike of the fact Oliver pushes the needle through Roy’s sleeve – I’m no doctor, but surely that would be some form of contamination…at least a stupid move. The cure must work, concerning Roy’s walking around (and fighting) in the promo for Unthinkable.
When City of Blood ended, Thea was at the train station on her way out of town (without any bags which seemed a little odd…) and one of Deathstroke’s army men causing trouble at the station. This week she tries to escape, but the man grabs her and is about to kill her when…Malcolm Merlyn saves her. All good, yes? Thea’s not very grateful, instead she runs off. Malcolm follows her and he tries to convince her to accept his help while standing on a train platform, but the discussion is interrupted when Deathstroke’s man attacks. Malcolm kicks some awesome ass yet again – personally, hand-to-hand combat works better for him than shooting arrows – but the final twist to this storyline for the episode is… well, it’s leave you gasping and saying ‘what the f?’
There’s plenty this week – I don’t think one storyline went without one… okay, maybe the flashbacks… But as usual they’re fantastic. I don’t think there’s been a single fight scene in the show’s history that I haven’t at least liked – most of them I’ve loved watching. They just seem to get better and better with every episode. Oh, and there’s one pretty awesome one coming in the next episode – one that, at the time the episode was being filmed Stunt Choreographer/Coordinator James ‘Bam Bam’ Bamford put a photo of on Instagram. Or more specifically, a photo of the stunt doubles for Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards… to me, that’s going to be awesome to watch.
So lately us Oliciters have gone from having next to no moments, to so many we’re all having heart attacks. When you put into consideration that these final four episodes of the season are set over roughly 24-48 hours for the characters, all the Olicity moments we’ve had these last few weeks have been pretty close together in their timeline.
The two stand-out moments from Streets of Fire has to be the moment Oliver carried Felicity away from their crashed van, which I touched on earlier in the review. It’s safe to call that the ‘hero shot’ of the episode. The second, which has received plenty of praise from other reviewers, was when Oliver and Felicity are standing in the clock tower, which became their home for the episode. Oliver said his “I have failed this city” speech (which made me think of the end of Year’s End, the midseason finale of last season), which she responds with a great pep talk – a fantastic delivery by Emily Bett Rickards. Oliver’s ready to give it up again, but Felicity counters his points brilliantly – “And you’re not done fighting” sums it all up perfectly. At the end of it, she initiates a hug, one that he’s a little slow to react to but when he does, it’s a perfect moment. The cinematography in that entire scene is brilliant, but the icing on the cake is the close-up of his hand as he lays it across her back and the flare of light shining through the broken window in the background surely was intended to represent the light within him that she harnesses.
Quotes (not in order)
Blood: As a young boy, I was plagued by nightmares. Every night, I would wake up in a cold sweat, frightened and alone. It was my father’s face that haunted me. And this is how I saw him. The embodiment of desperation and despair. I made this mask to conquer my fears. And to remind myself why I fight, every day, to give this city’s most desperate a chance. All I ever wanted to do was help people, Oliver.
Oliver: Then help me believe. Where’s the cure?
Blood: Slade Wilson will not rest until he honors the promise that he made you.
Oliver: I won’t be easy to kill once we level the playing field.
Blood: He’s not interested in killing you. Not until he’s taken away everyone and everything you love.
Oliver: After he murdered my mother, he said one more person had to die.
Blood: Whoever you love the most.
Oliver: Hey. I need you to stay with Roy.
Felicity: Okay. Oliver, John – um, maybe this is obvious, but are we sure this isn’t a trap?
Felicity: I’m just saying, if you guys don’t come back alive, I’m going to be really pissed.
Oliver: You’re a good man, Anatoly. If this is good-bye, be safe.
Anatoli: I will see you soon. You and Sara.
Oliver: I meant what I said. If we’re not back in an hour, you sink the freighter and get yourself home.
Anatoli: I think maybe I prefer Bahamas.
Blood: We had a deal.
Slade: And do you feel that I’ve not lived up to my end of it?
Blood: Those are innocent people. Dying out there. You do not need to kill them.
Slade: Yes, I do! I made a promise to someone once, and I will uphold it.
Blood: So this is really all about you just trying to hurt Oliver Queen?
Slade: I vowed to him that I would take away everything and everyone he loves. And he loves this city.
Blood: But this city… it’s mine, too.
Slade: Not anymore. As of tomorrow night, it will be nothing but rubble, ash, and death. A land only good for one thing. Graves.
Blood: I hope you can beat him with this. For all our sakes. And when this is over, I promise you… I will do everything in my power to rebuild Starling City. And I just won’t make it what it was. I will make it better. Like I always planned.
Oliver: You really think after everything that’s happened, after what you’ve done, that they’ll still let you be mayor?
Blood: Why not? No one know that I’ve done anything but try and save this city. And if you tell anyone about my mask, I will tell them about yours.
Oliver: Do what you have to, Sebastian.
Oliver: I didn’t know, Felicity. Five years ago, I was a completely different person. And I had… no idea that something like this was even… possible. I couldn’t have imagined. When you and Diggle brought me back to Starling City, I made a vow to myself that I would never let anything like the undertaking happen again.
Felicity: What’s happening now is not your fault.
Oliver: Yes, it is. I have failed this city. Yao Fei. Shado. Tommy. My father, my mother. All that I ever wanted to do is honor those people.
Felicity: You honor the dead by fighting. And you’re not done fighting! Malcolm Merlyn, The Count, The Clock King, the Triad – everyone who is trying to hurt this city, you stopped them. And you will stop Slade.
Oliver: I don’t know how.
Felicity: Neither do I. But I do know two things: You are not alone. And I believe in you.
It’s game on for the big finale.
OLIVER MUST DECIDE ONCE AND FOR ALL IF HE’S A KILLER OR A HERO — Slade (Manu Bennett) moves forward with his plan to kill one more person in Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) life. While Oliver has fought all year to be more than the killer he once was, when Slade kidnaps someone close to Oliver’s heart, Oliver is pushed to the edge and realizes sometimes it takes doing the unthinkable to stop the monster. Meanwhile, Diggle (David Ramsey) takes on Amanda Waller ( Cynthia Addai-Robinson) with a little help from some friends, and Thea (Willa Holland) turns to Roy (Colton Haynes) in her time of need. John Behringdirected the episode with story by Greg Berlanti and teleplay by Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg (#223).
Check out the awesome promo: